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types of bio logs bricks

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by nhimack, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. nhimack

    nhimack New Member

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    Not sure if this is the right forum but I'm new LOL

    I'm looking for a list of the various types, names of bio logs, comptrssed logs and bricks. Prices and locations. I live in the Mnt. Washington Valley area of NH and searching the web and googling is making google eyed. I'm sure that it exists somewhere on this very informative site. The only thing I have found so far is Smart Logs at Aubuchon hardware. price is fair but I'm a NH Yankee I'm looking for longest burn most heat at the lowest price



    Ian

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  2. cgarmor

    cgarmor New Member

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  3. nhimack

    nhimack New Member

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    They arent really in my area, seems nothing is. even though we have freakin trees everywhere and even a few mills left. I'm actually on the maine border but not really willing to pay maine sales tax on things i buy.
  4. SaratogaJJ

    SaratogaJJ New Member

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    Loc:
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    I'm using Envi-Blocks, found at http://www.enviblocks.com/. I believe they are manufactured in Pennsylvania.

    They now make two sizes: The 'original' size and the new 'Envi 8' size. I would suggest you take a good look at the dimensions of the interior of your wood stove's firebox before you decided which of these to order. I bought the 'original' size, which is roughly 10"x4"x4". As it turns out, this is just a little too big for my Hearthstone Morgan, which is only about 18" across, although I am continuing to experiment to see if loading them N-S instead of E-W will result in equivalent performance. (In fact, the Envi 8, at roughly 9"x3"x3" is probably just slightly bit too big, also.)

    Anyway, if you go to their Web site noted above, you can send them an e-mail and ask them where some local distributors are. I found a distributor about 30 miles away from my house; since I bought and paid for them in May, I got a very good price per ton. With a pallet - which measures just under a ton - you get 315 individual blocks. The manufacturer claims that, in terms of total BTU content, that a ton of bricks is roughly equivalent to one cord of seasoned hardwood.

    My best result so far, from a 'hot fire' perpsective has been burning them in a 'mixed' load - one or two small- to medium-sized splits, and two Envi Blocks. It burns really, really well.

    From a 'burn time' perspective, I can pack in 3 or 4 blocks over a bed of hot coals (no splits, just the bricks), and once they get a good burn to them, I close off primary air almost completely, and I will get probably 5 1/2 - 6 1/2 hours before I see stove temp just beginning to taper off and I'll feel the need to reload.

    I would expect that you will find a pallet anywhere from the very upper $200's to maybe nearly $400 at this time of year. If you order (and pay for) them in the spring, you might be able to get them in the $225-$260 range.

    On the positive side, I find that they are a heck of a lot easier to stack and store than cordwood. Clean, no bugs, no dirt, no bark chips. Since they are very low moisture, if you burn them right, creosote buildup should be quite minimal. Also, because of the low moisture and because they are really just sawdust, there is a surprisingly small amount of ash left over. I've got two tons (of bricks, not ash!) stacked inside my garage, and it gives it, interestingly enough, a pleasant sawdust odor in there. Also, on the positive side, when burning multiple bricks packed in tightly, you can achieve a pretty decent burn time before reloading, after a little experimentation.

    On the negative side, they are more expensive than seasoned hardwood (assuming you are purchasing cut/split/dried cordwood from someone else, and not doing the work yourself). As for achieving a really nice high temp fire (i.e., above 500 F), you can do it, but at what I have found to be a pretty severe penalty re: burn time. So, especially from this 'burn temp' perspective, their performance, so far (but again, I'm new to burning these) is slightly less than good seasoned hardwood.

    So there are definitely some trade-offs to consider. I would say that, given my (admittedly, somewhat limited) experience so far, that when you can get a ton of bricks for under $275, it's certainly a very worthy comparison whether or not to buy the bricks (but keep some cordwood - maybe a so-called "face cord" handy). In the high $200's to low $300's per pallet, then it's a judgment call, keeping in mind the positives and negatives I listed above. Anything over about $325 or so per pallet, I would probably go with cut/split/dried cordwood.
  5. joesat78

    joesat78 New Member

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    SaratogaJJ, thanks for the detailed reply to the earlier post.

    I don't have enough covered/indoor space to store a ton or two of envi-blocks. With cordwood, I can stack them outside with a tarp covering them from the snow/rain. Can I do the same with Envi-blocks? Does anyone do that?
  6. SaratogaJJ

    SaratogaJJ New Member

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    You can stack them outside, but you have to be extremely careful to make sure they don't get wet. If they get wet, they'll be pretty much ruined.

    They do come shrink-wrapped from the factory; in my case, the local distributor adds a second layer of shrinkwrap. So when they arrived at my house, they were wrapped up pretty tight. Even so, a few of the individual bricks did get some water exposure - trust me, you'll know if a brick has been exposed to water just by looking at it. Think of the difference between a dry sponge and a wet sponge, but where the wet sponge loses its structural integrity as it gets progressively wetter.

    Remember, these bricks are nothing more than sawdust, compressed. If they get wet, they'll revert back into sawdust, loose.

    I would say, on two pallets I ordered (630 bricks), maybe about 10 or 12 had some amount of water damage, ranging from the very slight to the essentially unusable. (i.e., crumbles in your hands as you try to move it.)

    So, yes, you can store them outside, but I wouldn't say it's ideal. If you really need to store them outside, you have to take every reasonable (and probably unreasonable) precaution to keep water away, otherwise, you will have wasted a whole lot of money.
  7. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    878
    Loc:
    Northeast, CT
    I've tinkered with both SmartLogs and Eco-Firelogs. Both are hydraulically-compressed sawdust logs - no binders. Eco-Firelogs were closer in "feel" to the BioBricks.

    Neither is horrible, but man are they not cheap. They get hot fast & clean, which is a plus. I don't think they burn as long as one might like, and you can NOT do anything to the fire once they are lit or you just get crumbled piles of sawdusty ash everywhere in the stove.

    I intend to use them to get the cold stove up to temp, but we found this past weekend that once the stove is really up to temp, we did just fine w/ our regular cordwood - which is known to be a bit lacking in its seasoning and dryness. I couldn't imagine spending the kind of $$ needed to heat exclusively with a compressed log type product. 8 boxes were $60. I could burn thru 1 box a day without trying, assuming I was at work all day and went to bed early, and didn't want much heat from the stove. I'd use two boxes/day easy if i was home and keeping it stoked. Way too expensive for us, probably... Cheaper by the pallet for sure...
  8. SaratogaJJ

    SaratogaJJ New Member

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    This is a very good point. You can gently attempt to nudge them around with, for example, the flat side of a coal rake, but you cannot use a poker or any other similar tool on them. The results can be....very, very messy, especially if you are using an insert with a blower. I found this out the hard way. Nothing like small glowing embers flying at your face to focus your attention and teach you a lesson. (From this, I also learned that turning the blower off is just a good idea in general before opening the door.)

    The compressed sawdust logs are way cheaper when buying in bulk quantity. Buying them by the box is NOT recommended, unless you're going to camp and just need a few to run in the stove there; even then I would suggest mixing them with a split or two of seasoned cordwood. For heating your home on a regular basis, you've got to purchase by the pallet. Anything else would be an enormous waste of money.
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